By Janet Carleton and Jennie Thomas, Host Committee co-chairs

The #SAA15 Host Committee is so very happy to welcome you to Cleveland!

We’ve shared with you almost everything we know about Cleveland and the local Northeast Ohio area, and we hope you’re able to use that information to have an amazing time while you’re in town! Our fabulous Host Committee, alongside a great group of volunteers, will be staffing the registration desk as well as the Convention Center’s St. Clair Avenue entrance for the week, and we look forward to answering your questions and helping you navigate your week. SAA has also arranged for the Cleveland visitors bureau, Destination Cleveland, to have a table at the Convention Center to provide you with even more information on what to see and do!

And now for something every visitor to Cleveland needs to see…


Construction Season

By Lisa Rickey, Host Committee Member

There is a running joke that Ohio has four seasons: Almost Winter, Winter, Still Winter, and Construction. Well, guess what season it is right now? Construction Season.

The most significant construction impacting the conference is that taking place around Public Square, which is located somewhat between the Renaissance Hotel and the Convention Center. There have been some changes to traffic and bus routes around Public Square, to accommodate the construction.


  • Parking garages and buildings on the perimeter of Public Square will be open and accessible to residents and Downtown employees.
  • Exterior sidewalks along the perimeter of Public Square will be open for pedestrians. That is, you can walk on the sidewalks all around the four sides of the square; only the sidewalks that criss-cross through the center are closed. (This information has been confirmed as current and accurate by a Host Committee affiliate actually visiting the square on August 13th!)

The parking garage of the Renaissance Hotel remains accessible.

Public Square construction map (courtesy of DowntownCleveland.com)
Public Square construction map (courtesy of DowntownCleveland.com)

The map above shows the construction area and changes to traffic routes; it has been modified from the original to include markers for the Renaissance Hotel and the Convention Center. 

For pedestrians walking from the Renaissance to the Convention Center, the following route is suggested: Exit the Renaissance near the parking garage on the north side, at W. 3rd Street. Walking on W. 3rd, cross Superior Avenue, and go two blocks north to St. Clair. Turn right on St. Clair. Walk one block east on St. Clair, and you will see the Global Center for Health Innovation, at the corner of St. Clair and Ontario Avenue. A little further down St. Clair from that corner is an entrance to the Global Center, which also connects to the Convention Center. You can use this entrance to get to the Convention Center, and there will be conference volunteers staffing this door to help you with finding where you need to go. If you are enjoying the nice weather or would simply prefer to go in the front entrance to the Convention Center, continue walking a short distance (less than a full block) on St. Clair, and turn left, either up Frantz Pastorius Blvd. (aka W. Mall Dr.) or the Public Hall pathway, and go one block north to Lakeside Avenue, where you will find the front entrance to the Convention Center, at 300 Lakeside Ave.

For more information about the Public Square construction project, visit:

For more information about Cleveland construction and traffic in general, visit:

Weather Forecast

By Lisa Rickey, Host Committee Member

As you begin thinking about packing your suitcase, you might be wondering: What’s the weather likely to be in Cleveland, Ohio, this time of year?

Before I answer that question, I’ll share just a brief anecdote about Ohio weather. Occasionally, I will make a social media posting including some observation on current Ohio weather, and someone from another state will ask, “Is that normal for Ohio?” And I, a lifelong Ohio resident, reply: “It is ‘normal’ for Ohio weather to be fairly unpredictable, yes.” I’ve seen thunderstorms in December, snow as late as May (though never in August – knock on wood), and even the “remnants” of hurricanes that result in terrible windstorms.

But let’s talk about what is likely to happen next week, shall we?

As luck would have it, the current weather forecast from Cleveland.com (or the Weather Channel if you prefer) is calling for a pretty typical week of Cleveland summer weather: highs in the 80s, lows around 70; some sun, some clouds, and some possible “scattered” thunderstorms; and occasional use of the dreaded word “humid.” As locals will know, it’s not the heat that can be the real “killer” in an Ohio summer; it’s the humidity.

Cleveland Sunrise (photo courtesy of Chris Capell, via Flickr Commons)
Cleveland Sunrise (photo courtesy of Chris Capell, via Flickr Commons)

So with all of that being said and operating under the assumption that the only thing you can predict about Ohio weather is that it’s a bit unpredictable, how does this translate to packing advice? Here are a few suggestions for your suitcase:

  • Plan to dress in layers. Every day, you will be at your hotel, then traveling to the convention center (whether by foot, bicycle, car, RTA, etc.), spending some time in the convention center, probably heading out for food at some point, maybe venturing out to some area attractions (we hope), and back to your hotel again. That’s a lot of potentially varied micro-climates, so give yourself plenty of clothing options.
  • Bring an umbrella. Whether you are walking a few blocks from your hotel to the convention center or just hopping off a bus near the entrance, it’s still a good idea to have an umbrella on hand just in case, preferably one small enough to stow in a tote bag while you’re not using it.
  • Wear the right shoes. No matter where you’re staying or how you plan to get to the convention center, you will be doing at least a little walking outdoors on pavement—potentially wet pavement. So bring comfortable and reasonably water-resistant footwear.

That should cover it—and you—rain or shine!

For the truly weather-curious, check out this database of Cleveland Weather History, including such facts as historical highs and lows for a given date.

SAA15 Service Project: Shoes and Clothes for Kids (SC4K)

By Nicole Laflamme, Host Committee member

shoeSign-up extended to Aug 15th!

Are you organized? Do you have experience sorting through boxes of valuable items? Do you enjoy helping people? Do you like free food?

If you’ve answered “yes” to these questions, then I have an opportunity for you!

This year, the SAA is participating in a charitable service project with Shoes and Clothes for Kids (SC4K).

When: Tuesday, August 18, 9:30 am – 12:30 pm
Where: Woodland Data Center, 4966 Woodland Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44104 (offsite)
Register: http://bit.ly/saa-service

SC4K buys pallets of clothes that need to be counted, sorted, and packed into smaller boxes for its distribution partners. Packing days are a fun opportunity that involves some physical labor, including:

  • Making boxes.
  • Opening and unpacking boxes.
  • Breaking down boxes.
  • Packing boxes.
  • And then starting the process all over again!

Register: Please fill out this very short form by August 15 at http://bit.ly/saa-service

A minimum of 10 volunteers is needed.

FREE lunch will be provided to volunteers after the shift.

More info about SC4K:

More info about the Service Projects:

More Service Project info on the HC blog

Childcare at SAA15

Little Babysitter (photo by Miriam via Flickr, Creative Commons license)
Little Babysitter (photo by Miriam via Flickr, Creative Commons license)

By Lisa Rickey, Host Committee member

Based on follow-up communications with all registrants who indicated an interest in child care services at the 2015 Annual Meeting in Cleveland, SAA has determined that we will not be providing a child care center or an organized co-op at this year’s conference. The actual need was very low.

Per SAA’s Policy on Child Care Services for Registrants at SAA Annual Meetings, attendees may request reimbursement for child care expenses incurred at the conference. To request a reimbursement following the conference, send your receipts with a completed Travel Expense Form to SAA Executive Director Nancy Beaumont at nbeaumont@archivists.org.

Questions or concerns about this process may also be directed to Nancy by email or phone (866-722-7858).

Your Archival Pet Photos can Help Cleveland Animals

Margaret Shaffhauser with bull terrier dog at the Canine Association Show, 3 Nov 1934 / by Ted Hood (courtesy of State Library of New South Wales via Flickr Commons)
Margaret Shaffhauser with bull terrier dog at the Canine Association Show, 3 Nov 1934 / by Ted Hood (courtesy of State Library of New South Wales via Flickr Commons)

By Nicole Laflamme

Vote for your favorite archival cat or dog! 

In an effort to support the Cleveland Animal Protective League (CAPL), Kate Theimer is hosting a web contest encouraging archivists to “vote” for their favorite archival photos of cats and dogs.  A selection of sixteen archival photographs featuring pets will be narrowed down each week in a bracket-style tournament…with the ultimate dog or cat winner being selected during 2015 SAA Conference! The contest will support the work of the CAPL.

Two ways to participate:

Entries should be submitted to kate.theimer@gmail.com by July 22.
For more details about the contest and how to submit entries, please visit Kate’s blog, Archives Next.

  • Submit archival photos (unlicensed, sourced from your archives or repository) of a dog OR cat.
  • Submissions from outside the U.S. are welcomed.
  • Please provide an appropriate credit line for your image.
Cat in a silk shoe. Raivola. Photo by Edith Södergran (courtesy of The Society of Swedish Literature in Finland via Flickr Commons)
Cat in a silk shoe. Raivola / by Edith Södergran (courtesy of The Society of Swedish Literature in Finland via Flickr Commons)

#2. VOTE!
Voting will begin on or about July 24th at Archives Next.

(Note: We deliberately chose photos of cats and dogs from international archives to illustrate this post, so as not to give an unfair advantage to any American photos we came across — though there were plenty of good ones on Flickr Commons! And we look forward to seeing yours!)

Forbes Calls Cleveland “Great Urban Weekend Escape”

“LeBron James isn’t the only one suddenly rediscovering Cleveland these days. Increasingly it’s showing up on various hot lists for cities, attractions and dining, while enjoying a Downtown renaissance. Landing the 2016 Republican National Convention anchors a slew of additional urban redevelopment and new hotels, while a surprisingly impressive slate of tourist attractions already draw visitors…”

Read more: http://www.forbes.com/sites/larryolmsted/2015/04/21/great-urban-weekend-escapes-cleveland-oh/.